A podcast about books from the Larissa Gerstel Critical Literacy Collection at American University in Washington DC.
I was really intrigued by the comment on gender you made here. Gender is an especially important construct throughout middle school years, so for pre-teens to feel like they are not pretty enough, or manly enough makes it difficult to be smart AND attractive. I think Diary of a Wimpy kid upholds this stereotype, by saying journals are definitely for boys. As a female, I have always called my journal a journal, because a diary felt too girly or gossipy. I find this fascinating because what would happen without these gender roles? Would we still be concerned with calling a diary a diary? Or whether the strong middle schoolers could write down their emotion? Anyway, I found it to be a really insightful comment.
I really liked how you started your podcast. Making a personal connection is a great way to draw your audience in. Also I agree with the comment above that the author immediately asserts his ideas about gender stereotypes at the beginning of the book. The boys I babysat in high school were obsessed with this series and I wonder if they picked up on the gender ideals enforced throughout the books. I have never read the series myself, but I would curious to know how female readers feel about the books or even how many females have actually read the books.
The podcast on a Diary of a Wimpy Kid presented an interesting case for the roles gender and race played throughout the series. The characters being illustrated as drawings with no classification on racial identity may limit the connection males of different ethnicities have with the main character. I find it fascinating on the illustrators part to not include any form of race so that readers can plug in their own concepts into the story, but does it help to ignore race altogether especially since many of the issues dealt with throughout the series taken during middle school years would usually involve race. I wonder what were the author’s intentions when creating the illustrations. I just watched the trailer for the film to be released in August and like many series turned into films the characters are not what I would have imagined. It’s a little different though with this book because there are illustrations already presented so for readers who may have viewed some of the characters, as non-White will now see them as White in the film. The only character of color was an Indian boy, who I’m not sure is depicted as Indian in the book but it will be interesting to see regardless the viewers’ feedback on the movie in relation to the book. -Maureen